Spurs 2-1 Swansea
Report from the Lane
28 February 2016|Tottenham Hotspur
A magnificent second-half comeback gave us a hard-fought three points against Swansea City at the Lane on Sunday afternoon.
Having trailed to Alberto Paloschi’s 19th minute opener, we laid siege to the visitors’ goal but found Swans goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski in excellent form as he denied us time and again. It looked like being one of those days but our perseverance and character finally told when Nacer Chadli levelled it up in the 70th minute and Danny Rose drilled home the winner 13 minutes from time.
But we were also thankful to Hugo Lloris, who made two stunning saves of his own to keep us in contention during a game in which the goalkeepers really did shine. In the end, though, our pressure paid dividends and the 34 shots – 14 on target – that we had were too much for the visitors from Wales.
Mauricio Pochettino made four changes from the team which beat Fiorentina three days ago but just the one to the team that started our last Premier League fixture at Manchester City - Erik Lamela in for Mousa Dembele.
The game was only three minutes old when Lloris made his first wonderful save to keep out former Spur Gylfi Sigurdsson. Paloschi broke away down the right and cut the ball back for the Icelandic midfielder who hit a first-time shot from close to the penalty spot which Lloris tipped over the bar.
It was a pretty frenetic opening and we went close three minutes later when Harry Kane - wearing a protective mask after suffering a broken nose against Crystal Palace in the FA Cup last weekend - couldn’t sort his feet out inside the area to get a shot away so squared to Rose on the left, he fizzed in a low cross which Lamela sent just over the bar from close range.
Kane was then denied by Fabianski at the near post from Christian Eriksen’s great delivery on 12 minutes before the visitors grabbed the lead. A short corner routine saw Angel Rangel play a one-two with Leon Britton and fire in a shot which deflected off Jack Cork, the ball looping up into the path of Paloschi who tucked it home past Lloris.
That was a setback but we responded in a real determined fashion, carving out a string of chances but finding Fabianski in inspired form. Eric Dier headed Lamela’s cross well over before Kane just failed to reach Kyle Walker’s inviting low cross.
Then came a flurry of opportunities within a few minutes. Eriksen’s 25-yard free-kick was pushed away by the diving Fabianski and moments later we had shouts for a penalty as Dele Alli weaved his way into the area and went over, referee Mike Jones waved play on but the ball fell to Lamela, whose shot was saved by Fabianski.
The stopper then denied Kane seconds later with a half-volley from just inside the area and was there again when Heung-Min Son was clean through, palming away his effort from 18 yards.
Although they had started to drop back to defend their lead, the Swans were still a threat and we had to be alert when Rangel got away down the right and cut back for Paloschi, whose shot was this time blocked by Toby Alderweireld.
Fabianski’s best save of the half came in stoppage time when he stuck out a strong hand to keep out Dier’s close-range effort from another Rose cross and Kane could only put the rebound into the side-netting from a tight angle.
It only took four minutes of the second period before Fabianski was called into action again, although it was a relatively comfortable save from Alli’s swivelling volley. And when Eriksen curled in another 25-yard free-kick, Fabianski superbly tipped the ball onto the post and the danger was cleared.
The Dane had yet another opportunity from almost exactly the same spot on 59 minutes, but this time aimed for the other corner and it drifted just wide of the far post. And when the pair crossed swords yet again on 63 minutes, the goalkeeper was there to smother Eriksen’s 25-yard drive from distance.
It really was one-way traffic as we prodded and probed the packed Swansea defence, Dier, substitute Chadli and Rose all firing in shots which were deflected away, Rose’s second drive coaxing another fantastic save from Fabianski as he tipped it over the bar. The corner was punched clear by the keeper, Walker picked up the loose ball and drilled towards goal and Chadli got a touch to prod the ball home - finally!
The goal was met by an incredible roar around the Lane and the relief was tangible inside the stadium. But the game was there to be won and we were back on the offensive straight away. Eriksen looked to break through but was tackled on the byline for a corner on 77 minutes. The set-piece was nodded away and the ball this time fell to Rose, who took a touch and drilled a low shot which went through a crowded area and flew into the back of the net.
It was almost 2-2 moments later, but Lloris once again denied Paloschi with another amazing stop at his near post. And then it should have been 3-1 on 80 minutes as we countered from a Swansea corner, Kane leading the charge and squaring to the far post where Walker tucked home, but the flag was up for offside.
Changes were made late on as Ryan Mason and Josh Onomah replaced Son and Kane, and Mason went close to a third but curled wide from 20 yards, while Sigurdsson saw a free-kick deflect off the wall at the other end as the visitors searched for an equaliser.
Five minutes of stoppage time meant a nervy ending to the match, but we held firm and picked up a massive win as we head into two London derbies in great confidence.
Mauricio Pochettino said
What did you think of the performance?
Mauricio:“It’s good to say it’s one of the best performances. The team is still improving and showed great character. That was fantastic. The atmosphere was also fantastic and the way the fans lifted the team when we conceded the goal was important for us so thanks to the supporters, they were brilliant and thanks to the players, the performance and effort was unbelievable, especially after a Europa League game. It’s never easy and we showed a lot of character.”
We ended with 34 efforts at goal!
Mauricio: “Yes, Fabianski was fantastic and that’s why it was great to celebrate the victory at the end. What more do you need to do to score? We’ll enjoy this now but not for long, we have another tough game on Wednesday and we need to be ready.”
How important was that character we showed?
Mauricio: “This is the way we want to play and in football, it’s not always automatic. At times, you play much better than the opponent and it was fantastic to score that second goal. We deserved the result and three points is very important. I’m very pleased for the team. The players deserve it because they work so hard on the training ground. We have a squad that deserves to be in the position we’re in and for that, I’m very proud.”
How did you feel when Danny’s goal went in?
Mauricio: “I shouted. I nearly ran. You felt a freedom when we scored the second goal. This moment was very emotional. I’m very happy because I think we deserved it and the supporters deserved it as well.”
Spurs (4-2-3-1): Lloris (c), Walker, Alderweireld, Wimmer, Rose, Dier, Eriksen, Lamela (Chadli 62), Alli, Son (Mason 75), Kane (Onomah 84). Substitutes (not used): Vorm, Davies, Trippier, Bentaleb.
Swansea (4-4-2): Fabianski, Rangel, Fernandez, Williams (c), Taylor, Britton (Fer 75), Cork, Ki (Gomis 84), Sigurdsson, Ayew, Paloschi. Substitutes (not used): Nordfeldt, Amat, Routledge, Naughton, Barrow.
Goals: Spurs – Chadli 70, Rose 77; Swansea – Paloschi 19.
Yellow cards: Spurs – Rose, Walker; Swansea – Williams, Paloschi, Ayew.
Referee: Mike Jones.